What Social Media Platforms Should I use for my business?

Use Facebook and Snapchat.

Just kidding - don’t you wish the answers to marketing questions were this simple? Unfortunately when it comes to questions on how to market the answer is often “it depends” - on your business, your audience, your budget, the person doing the marketing, and many other factors.

There are several social media platforms out there, and they all have potential for capturing interest, making sales and making your business known.

Your Audience

Your audience will dictate what you use to some degree. You want to choose platforms where they hang out - otherwise you’re going to be promoting to the wrong people.

Remember to think of who is actually buying the product - for example, if you make baby clothing your audience is their parents - where do they spend time online?

Take a few minutes to think long-term too. Will behaviour change as people age? Teens now are not heavy Facebook users, as they grow up and enter the workforce are they likely to join? Or will they keep using what they know and like?

Your Business

Your product and content will also affect the platform you choose. Certain types of products tend to work well on certain platforms.

Instagram is image heavy, so if you create beautiful products and can photograph them well, that could be a good match if your target audience is on there.

If you write a lot of blog posts around careers, professional or business development or innovation then LinkedIn might be a good place to go.

Youtube is great for tutorials, before-and-afters, and demonstration if that’s something you could incorporate into your business. Think garden transformations, make-up or styling tutorials, even event highlights can be used.

Twitter is all about short snippets of text, so accounts that are thought leaders, funny or up-to-date on breaking news and other trends area good match for the platform.

If you’re not sure, take a look on the platform you're thinking of and see what types of content are used the most, and what seems to elicit a good response (lots of likes, lots of comments, shares, lots of “where can I buy this?”)

That said, don’t think you’re excluded from a certain platform because of your product or offering, but you will need to get creative in your approach.

Your Preferences

Your personal preferences are a big aspect of choosing your media - you want to choose platforms that you will actually use. There’s no point setting up a Youtube channel if you hate speaking in front of a camera or don’t like creating videos. As the one doing the marketing, you need to like it too! It shouldn’t be a constant battle.

Choose a couple of platforms that have crossover between where your audience spends time and where you like to spend time, and that make sense for your business.

A note on social media: no matter what platform you choose, you’re going to have to write. It might be a little, or a lot, but writing will be involved. Captions, titles, instructions, descriptions, even replies to comments and questions.

Make sure your spelling and grammar are correct, and to the point. Short copy can be even more difficult to write than long copy. Spending time pre-writing several captions can help save time later, and gives you the chance to write and re-visit with fresh eyes (planning in advance means you know what needs to be written.)

Your Budget

Every social media account currently has free options for business profiles, pages or accounts. This means you can test the waters, see if you like it, and try to build organically (without paying for advertising) before investing.

But, and this is a big but, advertising is how these companies make money. They reduce reach and impact of organic business posts because they want you to spend money. At the end of the day, it is pay to play.

In order for people to use the platforms for free as users, someone needs to foot the bill. And that someone is the business owner.

The good news is you can spend as much or as little as you like, and social advertising is very track-able, especially when compared to traditional media like newspapers and radio. It allows you to learn quickly and make changes based on what is happening.

The more you pay, the more results you can expect to get. Keep in mind that the way you set up your ads to perform and the images and words you use will also have a huge effect on the results you see. Your ad might be seen by five thousand people, but maybe no-one found the offer enticing enough to learn more or buy.

Advertising on Social is not the most straight-forward topic so I’ll approach that in another post. In the meantime, if you’re looking to experiment with paid advertising keep this in mind:

  • Start out with a clear idea of what you want to achieve. This will give you guidance on how to set up your ad to get the most desired results out of your spend.

  • Make your offer very clear. Whether your ad is promotional or just trying to gain some awareness, make sure what you're offering is attention-grabbing enough for people to take action.

  • Speaking of taking action, make your preferred outcome very clear. This is your 'call to action' (or CTA) and it will often be formatted as a button with a title like “learn more” or “buy now.” This needs to make sense to your offer and take people directly to where you need them to go - not just your website home page.

Social Media can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Prioritize, choose wisely, plan your content, and find ways to use it for your business that are fun for you.

Have you got social accounts set up but are struggling to see results? Book a Social Media Health Check to optimize your profiles, review content, check analytics and plan content campaigns for the future.